Christmas falls just once a year
and by the time it’s come
of goodness cheer and mercy
I’ve used up every crumb.
I thought I’d beat it this time
by starting in July.
I shopped for presents early
and had a ham put by.
I’ve done the things a mother should.
My freezer’s full to bust.
I’ve only got to make mince pies
and give the place a dust.
But now the kids are bugging me.
‘We want to open one!
We can’t wait till Christmas.
It’s now we want our fun!’
Their hi-jinks have so stressed me out
I don’t know what to do.
And so I have a brandy
and then another few.
My eyes are rather blurry now.
My knees are giving way.
But those mince pies need making
before the end of day.
‘Oh children dear it’s Christmas Eve
and Mother’s rather tight.
Please be good for Daddy.
I’m gone out like a light.’
It’s many hours later now
and Santa’s left some treats
but there is no pitter patter
of precious little feet.
My husband wakes me up.
‘Where have the children gone?
Where are George and Sally
and Millicent and John?’
‘Oh hubby dear, I do not know
you see I got quite high.
I might have minced the darlings up
and put them in the pies.’
‘Oh what can you be saying?
What poppycock is this?
How could you mince the children up
and go out on the piss?’
But then the police came knocking.
They had our children four.
I hadn’t minced them up at all.
They’d just crept out the door.
They’d hitched a ride with Santa
and gone off in his sleigh.
And all night long they’d helped him
give out toys for Christmas Day.
But travelling round the world
had made my children see
that unlike lots of others
they lived quite happily.
So the dears behaved like angels
for all of Christmas Day.
They even cooked the turkey
while on the couch I lay.
And in future Christmas seasons
Dad says he will bake the cake
and the kids can make the mince pies
while Mother takes a break.
(c) Helen McKinlay
This poem appeared on my blog four years ago. I had just started blogging and was a new member of The Tuesday Poem Blog. I wrote the poem twenty plus years ago when my children were small and I was very into making mince pies for Christmas. the poem is of course fictional and just a bit of silliness but was very popular at the time. It has been published several times and was even read on National Radio’s Morning Programme.
The illustration here is from my book Grandma’s Kiwi Christmas which has also been a popular read and is available online and from bookshops. Australian illustrator Craig Smith did the illustrations and the one on the right is one of my favourites.
Several years ago this book was selected for the famous Christmas window display at Smith and Caughey’s Auckland department store. Go here to see the photos and read how it all happened.
You may have noticed that there has been a change to The Tuesday Poem Blog. While a number of poets will keep posting Tuesday Poems and other news on their own blogs the editorial part of the site will go into remission. If you haven’t already done so go here to read the last communal poem and the last ‘editorial’ on the blog for now, entitled And Now I Know What I Didn’t Know Then. Thanks go to Mary and Claire the main editors, and to all the Tuesday Poets who have taken their turn at editorials and hub subbing for the last five years. The Tuesday Poem Blog remains as a wonderful archive for all poets, and readers of poetry. And the good news is that the left hand sidebar will remain open as an everchanging fountain of Tuesday Poems and poetic information.
And Now I Know What I didn’t Know Then
Have a peaceful and joyful Christmas and New Year.